My First Home Birth: the Second Trimester
Updated: Jan 26
The second trimester was full of cherished memories as well professional and life milestones. The holidays were celebrated and pregnancy complications arose all while maneuvering the challenges of finding and purchasing a home. I am thankful for my midwife, Rebecca Burkett, throughout my entire pregnancy but especially the second trimester. She guided me through any bumps that arose and was a cheerleader as I prepared for the midwifery boards exam. Each prenatal appointment was more like a visit with a friend; I had the opportunity to vent, ask questions, and share laughter for as long as I needed. This included talking about buying Rob and my home and looking for somewhere that would fit my business and my family.
The plan to start house hunting developed after the news of my pregnancy. Rob and I had discussed getting married prior but had not gone so far as to begin the search for a home. After contacting Dave, our realtor, and looking at what was on the market we were quite intimidated. It didn't take long for us to decide that it was not the right time for us so we drafted an email to Dave that we were going to throw in the towel. Just as we were writing it he added a new listing to our online portal. It was in downtown Lapeer, in our price range, and it looked beautiful. We scheduled a showing as soon as we could. Ultimately we placed an offer on the house that would be accepted and we moved in just over a month later. I was in love with our new home and each project that we did to make it ours which mostly consisted of a thorough deep clean and lots of paint.
During the process of moving-carrying boxes, packing and unpacking-I started bleeding. Throughout my pregnancy I was confident in the health of my baby and felt secure in his safety. At the sight of blood I was immediately terrified. The thought of something being wrong had my stomach in knots and my thoughts in a fury. Rob and I promptly left for the hospital. Upon arrival I sat in the waiting room with multiple vomiting children and someone who appeared to have a broken limb. As a pregnant person who was experiencing bleeding I went in with the impression that I would be seen quickly. I was sadly mistaken as we waited several hours. We did not eat before we left the house that morning and were both famished after 3 hours of waiting. Finally, out of desperateness, we decided to send Rob for food from the golden arches. Of course within 5 minutes of his departure I was brought back into a room. Rob arrived with the food while a nurse was taking my vitals. At the sight of the bag she quickly chastised me for consuming food. She (not so gently) informed me that I should not eat "just in case" something would be wrong with the baby that might require a surgical abortion at 22 weeks gestation. This suggestion made all of my nerves worse by ten fold. For the second time in my pregnancy a health care provider was suggesting that my body would inevitably fail at what it was made to do. It brought up every feeling I left the obstetrician with after my first prenatal visit and more. The blatant lack of respect for human life and the immediate, arbitrary suggestion of an invasive and gruesome procedure was revolting. Eventually I was seen by a doctor that ordered an ultrasound. After everything we had been through that day Xander was perfectly healthy. This news brought a wave of relief like none I had ever felt before.
Unfortunately that was not the only hospital visit that occurred during my second trimester. I started to have symptoms of a kidney stone after Christmas. I was in unbearable pain and unable to leave the bathroom. My midwife advised that I go to the ER to be sure it wouldn't trigger preterm labor. Coincidentally my dad was in the same hospital, also experiencing kidney stones. When I arrived at the hospital the ER and labor and delivery sent me back and forth thrice before I ultimately landed at labor and delivery. They strapped two monitors around my belly. One was used to listen to Xander's heart rate and the other monitored contractions. If I had to get up I had to take them off which was inconvenient considering I had to pee every 30 seconds or so; staying in bed was not an option. The nurses were irritated that they couldn't keep the monitor hooked up long enough to get enough data from Xander's heart rate but I physically was not capable of staying in bed. I ended up sitting on a commode by the bed so the monitors could stay on. After an hour they told me that the OB instructed them (over the phone) to discharge me. The OB never spoke to me or came in the room and I'm fairly confident they were not on hospital grounds at all. I could see the sympathy in my nurse's face; she had witnessed the agony I was in. Sympathetic or not, there was nothing she could do with the doctor's order so Rob and I went home. The pain had subsided just a little and the trips to the bathroom slowly spaced out as the night progressed. By morning I was back to normal apart from a dull and persistent pain in my back. I got through that day without incident but when I woke up two days later my back was in so much pain I couldn't stand straight. I went back to the hospital... this time a different one. The second hospital I went to diagnosed me with a UTI and performed an ultrasound on my kidneys. The ultrasound revealed that I had indeed passed a kidney stone. They gave me IV antibiotics and sent me home with a prescription for more. The following day the first hospital called me to let me know they received my lab results; it appeared I probably had a UTI. Impeccable timing.
Despite multiple hospital visits I have many beautiful memories of my second trimester. Rob and I hosted Thanksgiving less than a month after moving in and it was a well-earned success. Having so many loved ones in our new home was truly a blessing. Our families supported us and brought much of the holiday meal prepared, leaving minimal work for us. We also enjoyed our first Christmas at the new house. We celebrated with each of our families and all of the kids for the first time. We spent New Year's eve watching as grammy passed out presents she picked for each of Rob's daughters, and playing board games.
The grand finale to my second trimester was my midwifery boards exam. I took it on January 6th of 2021, the day the capital was stormed. I had done whatever studying and preparation I could do over the holidays and months prior. The test was virtual and to be done at home. I took the test and waited two days to receive the results... I PASSED! This was an exciting and pivotal moment in my midwifery career and it made it feel like it was transforming a dream into reality.
While I recovered from hospital visits and continued to work on the house, which quickly shaped into nesting, I crossed the line into the third trimester. Nothing could have prepared me for what was to come. I am and will continue to be thankful for the love I had around me during some of the hardest moments of my life.